Genesis 5 Commentary

Verse 1 is important as a reference point when we get to verse 3. God created man in His likeness. Adam had a son in his likeness. At this point, Adam wasn’t exactly in the likeness of God because of the fall in chapter 3. Now he is bearing sons in his own likeness, the fallen likeness.

Biblical narration focuses on Adam’s line through Seth. We have yet another black box consisting of ‘other sons and daughters born to Adam and Eve. While logical thinking and setup isn’t the main purpose of the Holy Scripture I nevertheless find it interesting that we can still logically defend these writings. By the time of his death, Adam could possibly have fathered 300 children, inclusive of Seth but excluding Cain. Some people ask where Cain got his wife from. The Bible is silent. It’s a silly argument, nevertheless.

Each of the ancestors has other sons and daughters but again the Bible is closing in on one man called Noah. The importance of Noah in the Bible springs from yet another important event in human history.

The Bible is following a script. So many characters pop up and are dropped almost immediately. But in truth, each mention and each account (whether brief or prolonged) is independently important, both as a standalone item and also as a support act. It’s enough that the Bible tells us that Adam had other sons and daughters. We can fill the spaces. The fact is that by the time Adam and Eve died (assuming they died at the same time) Adam could have possibly fathered more than 300 children by Eve. Each of these children had their own Iines but who is interested in these lines? The Bible has a purpose completely independent of these lines.

One main issue here is the mad figures in terms of the years that these men lived. These figures are only mad in our heads. We can believe there is nothing wrong with these figures. What may be wrong is our appreciation of the power and purposes of God. We have generally noticed that Noah is the last of ‘these men’. A dispensation closes and the LORD is on to something new for mankind. So we probably want to read these figures of the ‘Adam – Noah’ dispensation in isolation as each dispensation has its own purpose.

NOTICE the similarities in names between Cain’s line in chapter 4 and Seth’s line in chapter 5. In chapter 4 we had a bad Lameck and here we also have a Lameck but a good Lameck who fathered Noah.

The similarities in names could suggest a comparison between the ungodly line of Cain in chapter 4 and the more godly line of Seth in chapter 5. I also think the Bible wants us to see that sin is a seed that is passed on from one generation to the other. Notice how Cain’s great great…great-grandson by the name of Lameck inherits all of Cain’s rudeness, sin, and violence. He disregards God’s formula of one man one wife and marries two women. He had scorned God’s ‘seven times’ to avenge Cain and instead talked of seven times seven. I also think he scorned the idea of God providing one woman so we have the first recorded polygamous family in the Bible. Lameck is a bad man and thinks sinful Cain is a hero whose record he needed to break.

But Seth’s line on the other hand in chapter 5 is more godly and we even find Enoch whose walk with God is ‘perfect’ and the LORD God takes him alive.

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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